Born Again

Our choices in life come down to this bottom line: will I continue to feed my ego or will I choose to uncover the deeper, truer self within me, the soul? It’s the world where the ego belongs vs. God where the soul belongs. We are hard-wired to rest with God and there find peace and a place of belonging.

Our souls and the Indwelling Spirit of God are forever sending hints and encouragement to us to follow our souls to a different choice, but we often can’t hear those suggestions in the busyness of our lives. But then some of us do hear those hints and turn to the deeper truer self for a new way of life. We Christians use different phrases to describe the change of heart, mind and soul that comes about when we decide to choose God above all that the world offers: “born again,” born of the water and the Spirit,” or “living in the mind of Christ.” Each one describes the same basic state of being attached to God much more than to the world.

Birth is such a wonderful metaphor because it suggests that we are not reborn as wholly mature spiritual people, but that birth is an entry point into God’s world from which it may take many years of following the teachings, of listening to and heeding the Indwelling Spirit, of maturing into someone who is wholly set aside for God.

Like young babies growing up in their parents’ households, as born-again or surrendered people, we learn all the expectations of the One who cares for us, we learn how he thinks, what he expects of us, how to attune ourselves to his mind. We learn to be obedient, faithful. We are birthed into a whole new way of thinking and being. We learn to slough off bad habits and assumptions and expectations gained from the world and ground ourselves in the mind of Christ.

Our inner transformation, once we have been reborn, is in Christ’s hands. Conformed to Christ is a great way of putting it. And what does that mean? It means that we are learning to live the teachings of Jesus, not just believe in him. We are learning to love in the ever-flowing, indiscriminant love of God. And as we mature in Christ, just as the ripening fruit on a tree is the end product of a growth cycle, we are being gifted with the fruit of the Spirit—peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control. None of these qualities are gained through ego-driven needs; they are the opposite of what the ego can accomplish.

Here’s the difference between self-control when it comes from love and self-control when it comes from the ego. As a fruit of the Spirit self-control means that we can set aside our own needs(knowing, trusting that they will be met later) in order to take care of another’s needs right now. Self-control generated by the ego means to look perfect in following the Law, doing the “right” things without our heart and soul engaged in the act. Or it can be not allowing ourselves to be who we were created to be. Self-control as a fruit of the Spirit and all the other fruit are the ways Christ is in this world and what we need to become to truly represent him.

And what is the point of this whole rebirth? Is it just so that the reborn person can claim to be perfect or justified? Is it just for the happiness of one individual who is healed of the past attachments and pain? Is rebirth a solo path for someone or does it have a higher purpose? From what I have been given to understand, a person who is reborn in the Spirit is gifted with the fruit of the Spirit so that he or she becomes love in this world, using his/her unique gifts and talents and what s/he has learned from his/her challenges to be a clear demonstration of the kingdom of God on this earth.

It is to the extent that we are humble(through the transforming ministrations of the Holy Spirit) that we can love with God’s unfailing, indiscriminate love. It’s evident in all our personal encounters and the things that we do–that we live in the kingdom of God. For how else would we know how to be more like Christ? And when God’s love is flowing into us and then back out to the world, we are demonstrating through our lives what a difference his love makes. Further, that pure love is a magnet for people who hunger for the same connectedness to and love for God. It is a radiant beam of light and love that calls everyone to God in the same way we were called to God’s side. And so, in God’s plan, we are a part of God’s call, awakening others to his love—not through preaching and teaching, but through God’s love shining through us.

It matters very much what choices we make, before we are “born again” and after. When we start down that path of total surrender of our lives to God and afterwards we have to keep our “eyes on the prize,” so to speak, to keep offering up all our resistances, anything that gets in the way between us and God, all our attachments in the world. All this so that we can be transformed into souls that can help the Lord bring in the kingdom.

 

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Questions to ponder over the week: Have I surrendered my life to God? Have I been born again? Is my whole being focused on God, loving him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength? Am I intent on God being the center of my life? What is my next step in the relationship with God?

 

Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are “born again” of water and the Spirit. May we be faithful in filling our thirst for God. May we bring all that stands between us and God, all that needs healing to the Lord. May we be at peace, living in God’s love.

 

My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!” is up on Amazon. Check it out under my full name, Patricia Said Adams or Patricia Adams, if you’re interested. If you’ve already read it, I would love for you to post a rating or comment on Amazon or Good Reads–the ratings bring in readers.

See the 4 videos posted on this FB page about the kingdom; they are meant to complement the book.

Read the whole blog(and archives) at bythewaters.net or await Monday thru Friday’s offerings on FB. I’m also on YouTube at By the Waters with Pat Adams and on Twitter at BTWwithPatAdams.

 

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